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How a Man shall do when he feeleth no taste nor comfort in his Mental Exercises

NEVERTHELESS I would think it were good for thee that when thou disposest thee to think on God, as I have before said, or in any other manner, and peradventure thou feelest no gust nor devotion in thy exercise, but only a naked mind and a weak will; by which thou wouldst fain think on God, but canst not; then I think it is good for thee that thou strive not too much with thyself, for so thou mayest fall into greater darkness, unless thou knowest how to work more subtlety, and more above in spirit, and with all quietness in the senses. But thou not knowing how to do so for want of experience or skill in it, I hold it more secure for thee in such a case for to say thy Pater noster and thine Ave Maria, or else thy Matins, or to read in thy Psalter, for that is evermore a sure standard that will not fail. Whoso may cleave thereto he shall not err; and if thou canst by thy prayer get devotion, look then that this devotion be only in affection, that is to say in a great desire toward God, with a spiritual delight. Hold on then such thy saying of those vocal prayers, and not easily break off; for oftentimes it happeneth that praying with the mouth getteth and keepeth devotion, and if in such a case thou cease from saying, thy devotion withal vanisheth away.

Nevertheless, if Devotion in prayer bring into thine heart a devout thought of the humanity of our Lord, or of any of the other matters before mentioned by me, and this thought should be hindered by thy saying of the vocal prayers, then will it be best for thee to cease from thy saying, and to feed thy mind and affection with the thought of the said good matter till it leave thee and be vanished away.

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